How to Use Formby's Tung Oil


Tung oil is a woodworking finish that has been used for hundreds of years. It was first created in China by pressing the fruit of the tung tree to create a nut oil the consistency of maple syrup. This oil creates a waterproof seal when applied to wood. For this reason, it was used by Chinese sailors to waterproof ships. Tung oil is amber in color, and stains wood amber as well. One of the more popular brands of varnish that incorporates tung oil is Formby's Tung Oil.

Step 1

Prepare your woodworking project by stripping away the old varnish. To do this, soak a cleaning cloth in paint thinner and rub the woodworking project until the varnish is gone.

Step 2

Rough up your surface by rubbing with a fine grit sandpaper.

Step 3

Rub your surface with another clean cloth to remove dust particles.

Step 4

Soak a cleaning cloth or lint-free applicator pad in Formby's Tung Oil. Rub the oil into the surface of the woodworking project. Apply liberally. Wait 20 minutes and wipe away excess oil.

Step 5

Wait 30 minutes and wipe away moisture that has seeped from your woodworking project.

Step 6

Wait about 12 hours for the Formby's Tung Oil to dry. Buff with 000 steel wool and apply a second coat. You may apply up to four coats for an indoor project. Outdoor projects may require up to seven coats.

Step 7

Apply a new coat of Formby's Tung Oil annually.

Tips and Warnings

  • Varnish, paint thinner and Formby's Tung Oil all have strong fumes. Always use these projects in a well-ventilated room and wear protection from fumes over the nose and mouth. Wear gloves and protective clothing when working with these products.

Things You'll Need

  • 16 ounces Formby's Tung Oil
  • Applicator pads or lint-free cotton cleaning cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Woodworking project
  • Paint thinner
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • 000 steel wool


  • Formby's Tung Oil Finish
  • Tung Oil
  • How to Use Tung Oil

Who Can Help

  • Formby's Tung Oil Finish Directions
Keywords: refinishing wood surfaces, Formby's Tung Oil, tung oil projects

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."

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